August 22, 2019

The Thrilling (but Problematic) Discovery of the Pilgrimage Road

“Remember the crude and ugly demonstration of chauvinistic triumphalism three weeks ago, when Donald Trump’s bankruptcy lawyer David Friedman and Miriam, wife of casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, smashed an artificial wall in a tunnel beneath Silwan in East Jerusalem?

It’s impossible to forget their gurning, self-satisfied faces as they literally smashed prospects of coexistence in a city they don’t live in, and have no true regard for its real residents. At least I thought it would be impossible to forget them, as I visited the tunnel last week, with the excellent and professional guidance of an Israel Antiquities Authority expert.

I was wrong because if you have an ounce of historical and Jewish awareness in your soul, the moment you enter the cool dark tunnel you forget those tawdry and inconsequential figures.

“The Pilgrims’ Road” – we’ll get back to the problematic name in a moment – is incredible. Walking up those cool limestone steps, flanked by the remains of entrances to ancient shops and homes along the way, you can for the first time, without any reconstruction or visual aid, really picture what Jerusalem looked like in the last decades of the Second Temple.”

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